How To Gain Sales Leads

Finding sales prospects is not an easy task – it required dedication, determination and a will to succeed even if you come across real setbacks. This is especially true in business to business sales and in many cases you will have to make your pitch to numerous people from the same organisation in order to win the business – this requires guile and passion to get to the end of the process.

Every sales professional MUST be able to manage and get over prospect attrition; losing customers is an inevitable part of sales and business life in general and can be attributed to a wide range of causes and factors. Unless you can replace those that leave your sphere of influence a career change may come to you quicker than you might like!

So where can you get new prospects from? Perhaps the following suggestions might be of use;

  • Referrals and recommendations from other sales professionals; always remember to return the favour as this is a two-way street.
  • Centres of influence; what can your friends and family members (and their contacts too!) do for you?
  • Trade Directories; these provide detailed information and contact details for organisations in a wide variety of commercial sectors.
  • Trade Publications; getting regular access to these documents will keep your knowledge current and allow you to see what is happening in the marketplace which you can then use to your advantage.
  • Telemarketing, direct mail, email and advertising; this may take some effort and do not be put off by what seems like initially low or poor response rates. Many sales professionals do very well through this method after having spent some time perfecting their messages and following up with more traditional selling techniques. Ideally send sales email to exiting clients who already know you and who will give you some honest feedback on content and style. Broadcast or Spam emailing rarely works and annoys prospective clients!
  • Web sites; there are many out there so if you are looking at this as a strategy make sure yours stands out and delivers accurate details about your offer.
  • Computerised databases; these can cover a lot of ground and hold considerable amounts of information but it is essential to get included on the ones that will give you maximum exposure to new clients and that will therefore represent money well-spent in terms of your business generation.
  • Cold calling; this is an effective means by which to identify potential prospects who can then (hopefully) be converted into actual prospects. Many new sales professionals rely upon this method until their referral systems bring prospects directly to them. Successful cold calls do not happen spontaneously and some real strategic thinking and planning is required to make this happen. Opening remarks are critical avoiding looking and sounding nervous or unsure of yourself and your product/service. NEVER let the prospect think that you lack experience. Keep it brief and follow-up with a personal email.
  • Networking; creating and maintaining a network of contacts is essential. This is especially important if you are relatively new to sales and where contacts established now will bear fruit in the years to come.
  • Prospecting by Non Sales staff; all people in your organisation should be able to undertake low-level prospecting through their everyday contact with customers and suppliers. Make sure that your contacts include key staff who may not realise that their information and experience is of high value to you.

Good Luck!

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